August 26, 2013
By Benét J. Wilson
The 2013 AOPA Aviation Summit will take place in Fort Worth, Texas, the first time in more than 20 years that the event is being held in the central region of the country.
Summit is being held in Fort Worth for four reasons, said Chris Eads, AOPA director of outreach and events. “First, we have an enormous number of members in the central and southwest region, close to 30,000 in Texas alone. Being close to home for them offers a unique chance for these members to experience Summit without having to travel far,” he said.
“Second, and perhaps most exciting for me, is that by placing Summit in a central U.S. location, we have a unique opportunity for any member to travel from anywhere in the United States with a much shorter travel time than if they had to cross the entire country,” said Eads. “For our East and West Coast members, Fort Worth is still only a two- to three-hour commercial flight, often with direct nonstop service from many major East and West Coast cities. It makes getting to Summit economical not just for the people in the immediate region, but for all our members.”
Third, Fort Worth has a rich culture and offers entertainment that gives members a chance to not just enjoy the convention, but also take in the fun and exciting events that will be unique to the Summit experience. This includes a free country music concert with Aaron Tippin for the first 450 people who sign up, a rodeo, and a hangar dance.
Finally, Fort Worth allows AOPA to offer some of the lowest costs to attend Summit, as Midwestern prices are quite modest.
Most years, AOPA alternates event locations between the East and West Coasts to accommodate the significant number of members on each coast. “For those who live in those regions of the country, Summit is an easy-to-get-to experience. But for others, it’s just too far away,” said Eads. “But by being in the central part of the nation, commercial flights cost less and offer reasonable timing from almost any part of the country.”
In the past, AOPA members on opposite coasts would usually sit out on a year when the Summit was not on their side of the country. “This year, everyone can come with a reasonable travel time and expense. Add to this, the most unique part of this year’s Summit is our new CEO Mark Baker getting his first large-scale opportunity to interact with our members face to face,” said Eads.
By being in the middle of the United States, AOPA is able to offer every member the easiest travel opportunities to come meet the new CEO. American Airlines is offering a 5-percent discount code for AOPA Aviation Summit attendees, and with a major hub in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, this increases the ability for members to reach Fort Worth in a cost-effective way.
Three fixed-base operators at Fort Worth Meacham International Airport will be hosts for general aviation arrivals, and transportation shuttles will be offered to host hotels and the convention center throughout Summit. The schedule forAOPA shuttles is now available, and volunteers will be on site at each FBO to help guide the experience of arriving attendees.
Eads offered three great reasons why members need to attend the 2013 AOPA Aviation Summit. “First and foremost, it’s members’ first opportunity to connect with our new CEO, Mark Baker. In the early days of his leadership, it’s a great chance to get to know him, learn about his story, hear his vision for AOPA and our future, and ask him questions during a Pilot Town Hall,” he said.
Second, this year’s Summit will offer great educational content, divided into five easy-to-navigate learning tracks—pilot skills, aircraft maintenance, medial and legal, technology, and the aviation stories of leading luminaries—as well as several unique interactive learning environments.
Third, members will have plenty of opportunities to explore general aviation’s best products, services, technology, and aircraft in the exhibit hall, static aircraft display at Airportfest, and product announcements and demos in the interactive pavilion.
Early registration for Summit is open through Sept. 6; register now and save 20 percent. Book your hotel by Sept. 10 to get the best rates.
AOPA eNewsletter and Social Media Editor Benét J. Wilson joined AOPA in 2011. She is working on her private pilot certificate.
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